In the emerging nations women sew clothing for western markets, usually on treadle machines at home. Developing nations, on the other hand, usually allow employers to run residential factories with electrical power to run the process with native operators at low wages. Neither of these categories departs from the historic model and will, God granted, progress toward modern civilization at a pace dictated by world economic exploitation of their resources and labor.
Failed states are a new concept, referring to nations that had made the grade into industrial societies in the past but have fallen back because of war damages, natural disasters or incipient revolts by their oppressed constituents. These societies are marked by government and private infrastructures: highly organized systems of law and license and an in-place bureaucracy that purports to serve the needs of the people and society at large. The problem is, they don’t work.
I always thought that such labels applied to other peoples’ countries, but of late I have seen evidence that Nevada is rapidly becoming a failed state, and some of our citizens are only one pair of cheap Doc Martins away from barefoot on a dirt floor. Homeless and without jobs they are living on the edge, and the edge is getting sharper.
Nevada state government has long been a mechanism for local families to make careers in public service, clerking the departments and agencies and doing a marginal job for good pay including fat retirement benefits. Much of that work consisted of operating federal programs, from food stamps and welfare to Medicare oversight and distribution of funds for the unemployed. In this latter task they are failing badly.
The recent stall on extension of unemployment in Congress left numerous Nevadans without payment for up to two months, and now that the money has been approved in Washington D.C., the state office is totally backlogged and not paying out the funds. The phone lines are tied up for hours and calls dropped. The offices are refusing to process walk-in claimants, telling them to get on the phone line. Meanwhile it is mid-month, the week the landlord comes around to inquire when he will get his money. Hard times, and the government can’t seem to get it together to do the jobs they still have, while the governor and his cohorts try and find a way to pay for government with only half the cash they are mandated to spend.
Some disasters are slow moving, and the gradual deterioration of government’s capability to cope is beginning to show, as states fail across the country.
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views.